Sanderson primed for Wembley encounter

Friday 21 Nov 2014
Lianne Sanderson celebrates her goal against Sweden in August

England Women have lost just once in 12 matches since Lianne Sanderson returned to the fold – and the striker believes Mark Sampson’s side are improving all the time.

The Three Lions will take on European champions Germany at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Sanderson, who this week re-signed for Arsenal Ladies, ended her four-year international hiatus when she was called up by Sampson ahead of a training camp in La Manga in January.

England Women v Germany

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3pm, Sunday 23 November
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The 26-year-old helped England win their final six World Cup qualifiers, scoring twice, as they made it to Canada 2015 with a 100 per cent record. Their only defeat since her recall came against France in the Cyprus Cup in March.

Sanderson said: “There has been huge progress with every trip since La Manga, both on and off the pitch.

“As well as all the training, we have been having a lot of workshops and doing lots of team activities, thinking outside the box. Because of that our mentality has improved a lot.

“I love coming away with England. It’s a great feeling to be with the girls and it’s always enjoyable to be here.”

Sunday’s meeting with Germany will be the first time the England Women’s team have played at Wembley since it re-opened in 2007.

A record crowd of 55,000 is expected at the weekend – and Sanderson saw at first-hand the effort that went in behind the scenes to help attract so many fans.

Sanderson netted against Wales in qualifying

In September, she was invited to an internal FA workshop geared towards the promotion of this match. Sanderson was able to offer her insight into how women’s football is marketed in America, having enjoyed spells with Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence and DC United Women.

She said: “I was a bit taken aback as to the amount of effort that was going into the game. There were some amazing ideas flying around the room. It just shows how much the women’s game is respected by The FA.

“I wasn’t in the country for five years, so to come back and see all those people in the room, to see the amount of ideas people were having, and the energy and enthusiasm for this game was just fantastic.

“A lot of thanks must go to everyone at The FA who has worked on this game and I know [Club England Managing Director and FA Director of Communications] Adrian Bevington and his team played a big part in that. 

"Adrian is not just a name. You see his face around a lot. He is a big supporter of the women’s game.

“It was great for me to have been there that day. It just proved that we are one team, one unit, and we all came together to make this a special event.”

Germany are ranked second in the world behind USA and are the reigning European champions – they have won it eight times in total, including each of the last six. They also lifted the World Cup in 2003 and 2007.

“Our biggest focus is the World Cup next year but this will be a major, major game”

Sanderson on Germany

England have never beaten Germany, and their best results have been two 0-0 draws, both in 2007.

But Sanderson is relishing the chance to take them on ahead of the World Cup.

She added: “I love testing myself against the best players in the world, so Germany, USA, Sweden – they are the type of teams I enjoy playing against. It will be a massive test, but one we can’t wait for.

“We weren’t overly stretched in the qualifiers, but when we beat Sweden 4-0 in a friendly we showed how well we can play and how far we have come.

“In previous years we’d have been a little bit nervous about playing Germany. But now there is a buzz and a confidence around the team. Not an arrogance, just a confidence. We are not getting carried away.”

Sanderson continued: “Our biggest focus is the World Cup next year but this will be a major, major game.

“The amount of tickets that have been sold is phenomenal. We’ve got 55,000 coming to Wembley so it’s going to be a great day, one we are all looking forward to.

“We know it will be a huge test but that’s what we need ahead of next year.”

By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park